Copa restarts service five months after grounding

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新沙巴体育After five months of dormancy, Copa Airlines is resuming operations this month with plans to further ramp up service in September.

On Saturday, the carrier restarted service with one weekly flight between New York and its hub, Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. From Panama, Copa is operating connections to San Jose, Costa Rica; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and both Quito and Guayaquil in Ecuador. Service from New York will increase to two weekly flights on Aug. 29.

"We hope that resuming our operations will help thousands of passengers who wish to return to their homes, reunite with their families, attend to health issues, important meetings, as well as family or professional commitments," according to Copa CEO Pedro Heilbron. "We continue working with governments across the region to expand the total number of destinations and thus serve as many people as possible."

Copa has indicated that it plans to further expand in September to about 10% of the capacity it operated a year prior, and by the end of the year, it could be operating 30% to 40% of its usual capacity, according to CAPA Centre for Aviation (CAPA).

CAPA also noted in its analysis that Copa has "solid footing" financially despite being grounded for five months. Airlines in Latin America have had very little access to government aid, and several carriers in the region--including Avianca, Latam and Aeromexico--all have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent months.

"Copa has had a strong balance sheet heading into the Covid-19 pandemic and worked to strengthen its liquidity as the crisis dragged on," according to CAPA. "Although Copa faces the challenges of restarting operations when demand trends remain highly uncertain, the company's strong foundation will continue to be an asset."

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